Hickory Smoked Homicide
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
Welcome to Aunt Pat's barbeque restaurant--family run and located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee. Named in honor of Lulu Taylor's great-aunt, the restaurant on Beale Street is famous for its ribs and spicy corn bread, but sometimes Southern comfort food can come with a side of murder...
No one likes Tristan Pembroke, a snooty beauty pageant coach with a mean streak longer than the line outside Aunt Pat's. When Lulu finds Tristan's body during a crowded art auction fundraiser, the police suspect Lulu's daughter-in-law who publicly had a huge fight with Tristan over trying to sell a portrait of Tristan that Tristan had refused to pay for. Though a lot of people showed up at that fundraiser who hated Tristan, the police are having as much trouble as Lulu in tracking down who had the opportunity.
Hickory Smoked Homicide is a humorous cozy mystery. It's the third in a series, but you can follow this story without having read the first novel, and this novel didn't spoil the mysteries in the previous novels.
The characters were varied, engaging, and acted realistically. Lulu was an elderly lady with many friends. She listened to their gossip about who saw whom with whom and who argued with whom and so forth in an effort to solve the case. (She reminded me a little of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.) While whodunit had occurred to me as a good possibility, so many people had a motive that it wasn't obvious who actually had. I liked that Lulu put all the clues together at the same time I did and that the vital clue wasn't something obvious that the police somehow overlooked.
The story had a lovely atmosphere that made me feel immersed in Memphis, TN and no where else. This fast-paced story had details about the setting and jobs, including the Southern food they ate. Some recipes for the food mentioned in the story were included in the back of the book.
There were no sex scenes. There was a minor amount of fake bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written, enjoyable mystery.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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